March 13, 2016 |
Always mighty, often amazing, the Mahler Symphony No. 8 unfolded Thursday with somewhat less than the supposed thousand musicians for whom the piece was ideally conceived. But you wouldn't have wanted more than the Philadelphia Orchestra's 420 singers and instrumentalists, who made as much sound as the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall could hold. The first of four sold-out performances that promised to be (and were) the season's highlight, the event commemorated the 100th anniversary of the orchestra's U.S. premiere of the Mahler 8th under Leopold Stokowski.
November 3, 2015 |
You can be fairly sure that classical music is getting the message across when you see a big gray teddy bear hanging over the side of the first tier in Verizon Hall, waving his paws in the air to tunes from Danny Elfman's The Nightmare Before Christmas . The bear wasn't intended to be part of the show at Saturday morning's first of five Philadelphia Orchestra family concerts this season, but of course the orchestra has a future only to the...
October 9, 2015 |
She's had a dazzling career anchoring television news in her hometown Philadelphia market for more than three decades. Now CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi is hanging up her hat. When Pope Francis departed Philadelphia 11 days ago, Ciarrocchi said it was a "wheels up" moment for her, too. "The Francis visit has empowered me with the strength to forge a path that is certain to use my voice," she wrote on Facebook. Ciarrochi's been to the Vatican several times, including covering the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. But when she learned that Pope Francis was coming to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, "I could barely breathe," she told me. When his plane touched down in Philly, "I got choked up as I waited for that," she said.
August 2, 2015 |
It would be understandable if anyone left the Philadelphia Orchestra's second and last free "neighborhood concert" of the season feeling bemused. The point of these concerts, started a decade and half ago, is to bring the orchestra to audiences who don't ordinarily go to it. Holding Thursday night's neighborhood concert in Verizon Hall, the orchestra's home, represented a certain up-is-down logic that perhaps only the orchestra and its sponsors could appreciate. The concert wasn't exactly free, either.
July 7, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra, which knows the way to London and Vienna, could use a little help these days finding the neighborhoods of the city in which it lives. In 15 years, the orchestra's wonderful free neighborhood concert series has brought it to North Philadelphia, the Navy Yard, Drexel Hill, and elsewhere. This year, the series consists of two concerts, and you might notice that the next one, July 30, has the intrepid Philadelphians venturing all the way to, well, their usual perch in Verizon Hall.
May 7, 2015 |
Philadelphia's All City Orchestra, the School District's little orchestra that could, is joining the ranks of its bigger, better-funded musical brethren and going on a foreign tour. The 115-or-so-member ensemble, drawn from public schools and recent alumni, will play five concerts in Italy in nine days starting June 20. It is the first tour for the program, says Don S. Liuzzi, the Philadelphia Orchestra timpanist who has led the orchestra for a decade. "There is no musical experience quite like taking your collective work on the road and musically giving and sharing with another country or culture.
April 19, 2015 |
What does it mean that the Philadelphia Orchestra is now stocking its subscription series with lighter works it once used to draw crowds to the Mann Center and as musical primers at children's concerts? French conductor Stéphane Denève is here for two weeks of populist programming that began Thursday night in the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall with a reprise of a Peter and the Wolf film the orchestra brought to the Mann in 2007. The hall was filled with plenty of grown-ups and a scattering of children who, by their general level of happy buzz, indicated approval.
February 28, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra has a rather plastic idea of the concert format these days. On Wednesday night, that meant a hybrid of the talk-and-play concerts it has done under various names over the last two decades, plus offering the LiveNote app that allows the audience to follow real-time program notes on mobile devices. The start time was earlier than usual (6:30 p.m.), and tickets a flat $45 for an intermission-less concert of about 75 minutes. It would be hard to say the format struck a chord with ticket buyers, given the audience in the low hundreds that turned out in Verizon Hall.
October 17, 2014 |
In terms of bullying incursions of modern life, the Philadelphia Orchestra's new program-note app ranks somewhere between leaf blowers and fruit stickers. Which is to say that for someone somewhere, life is probably better for having these advances around, but the rest of us don't have to be happy about it. In reality, I wasn't disturbed by LiveNote, which had its debut Tuesday at the orchestra's annual free concert for college students. As the ensemble played Rimsky and Bernstein, listeners with iPhones could toggle between streams of information, either about the piece and composer, and what the app calls "analysis" - not harmonic analysis, but something much more basic.
October 13, 2014 |
It's the rare concertgoing eye that hasn't at some point fastened onto the reliable sight of a low, silvery bouffant making its way up and down the aisles of the Academy of Music or Verizon Hall. Antoinette Marie DuBiel took up her spot in the Academy two decades ago and ushers four or five events a week during the season. Raised in Chestnut Hill, she was once a budding pianist with a degree in performance from Chestnut Hill College. After a career in real estate, she is now assistant head usher and hears more concerts than most critics.